CSOs ask Buratai to speak on ‘theft of billions’ by soldiers

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre/Transparency International (CISLAC) say it is unfortunate that Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, has refused to speak on the “theft of money running into billions” by soldiers.

On Sunday, Premium Times reported that five soldiers were declared wanted by the Nigerian army after they absconded with a large amount of cash owned by a ‘VIP’ (very important personality).

Sources, according to the newspaper, had said the soldiers were detailed on July 11 by Hakeem Otiki, the general officer commanding, 8 division of the army based in Sokoto to escort the huge cash to Abuja.

The source of the money and exactly where it was being taken to in Abuja remained unclear.

In a joint statement on Friday, Olanrewaju Suraju, chairman of HEDA and Auwal Rafsanjani, executive director of CISLAC, said Nigerians need full disclosure on the matter.

The groups also called on the national assembly to probe the “embarrassing development”.

“We call on the National Assembly to probe this incident. The house committee on defense needs to provide the necessary clue. There is no doubt that the action of these soldiers will have serious impact on the campaign against terrorism. The Senate should get to the root of this matter before it is too late. If nothing is done, other soldiers on the frontline may be encouraged to embark of stealing of national assets.

“They dared the consequences of crime probably because they knew it was a trend in the armed forces. There is a major problem if security operatives have no respect for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces.

“We call on the National Assembly to treat this issue as a top priority. Who are these soldiers? How much was the money involved? Who owns the money? Is the money owned by an individual or by the country? Is the money the proceeds of crime? There are many questions waiting to be answered.”

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